With patronage shooting up, local entrepreneurs have become authentic Punjabi food providers

Punjabi restaurants in Erode that have been attracting food lovers for decades have been growing in numbers as well — there are more than a dozen restaurants in and around the city.

Considering the patronage, there is nothing surprising about these restaurants presenting a busy picture, particularly in the evenings. But there is very little of the Punjabi connection in the restaurants.

The outlook of the restaurants that were once ‘dhabas’ frequented by lorry drivers of North Indian States has changed.

At least in respect of the 'Punjabi' restaurants in the city limits.

The rustic ambience, reflected in the seating arrangement — only cots are used in original dhabas — and usage of brass plates and tumblers, seems to have diminished.

The restaurants have come to adapt to the evolving social milieu, incorporating value additions over a period of time.

The value additions are in the form of ample parking space, privacy, play space for children, dining tables spread out on open lawns, provide the people of entertainment-starved Erode the much needed space to unwind.

On the menu, though, there seems to be Punjabi connection and characteristics. Nans, parathas, rotis made of corn flour (makke di roti) constitute the typical food items. Also mentioned are milk products in the forms of malai (cream), paneer (cottage cheese), butter and curds that are a must in every Punjabi meal. Added to the items on the menu are liberal dosages of onion, garlic, ginger and tomatoes fried in pure ghee.

Well, if not for the taste, gourmets won't be lining up. The very name 'Punjabi', according to Thiruchelvam, a regular at these restaurants, conjures up thoughts of sumptuous dishes that increase appetite.

The 'Punjabi' connection ends with the food items. Otherwise, the restaurants are owned by local entrepreneurs.

“The purpose is to provide an opportunity for South Indians to taste Punjabi dishes. Customers who keep coming regularly include hundreds of North Indian families who have settled down in Erode as well,” said V.K. Navin, proprietor, Sri Thindal Punjabi.

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